The Avenues, already Kuwait’s largest shopping destination, is set to become even bigger. Phase III of the project, designed by Gensler and Kuwaiti developer Mabanee, is under construction and poised to add more than 925,000 square feet—including 545 retail units and 52 food and beverage outlets—to the existing development located in Kuwait City’s Al Rai district.
The development will introduce six distinct shopping experiences to The Avenues, each of which reference iconic cityscapes and retail locations from around the world. The Grand Avenue, designed to feel like an outdoor space, takes its inspiration from the tree-lined boulevards of the world’s major retail centers. Here, the storefronts will encapsulate a mix of European, regional and contemporary styles; a transparent roof will fill the space with natural light.
SoKu (an acronym for South of Kuwait) references New York’s bohemian SoHo district, and will be filled with “edgy” city architecture, as well as an array of cafes and bistros, all designed to capture the attention of Kuwait’s younger, trendier consumers. The Mall will link Phase III to the existing development and provide the widest selection of fashion trends in the area, while The Luxury Mall will house up to 70 high-end brands in deluxe surroundings that include valet parking and hands-free shopping. The main focal point of The Luxury Mall will be a striking 226-foot-high central dome.
More regional architecture will be represented in The Souk and The Bazaar. Modeled on Arab markets, The Souk will feature traditional architecture, including narrow streets, and place an emphasis on small, start-up retailers. The Bazaar will draw inspiration from the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and will house 34 units below ground.
“The Avenues is the region’s premier shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination, and Phase III will elevate this offering, positioning it as a world-class retail shopping destination,” says Chris Johnson, managing principal of Gensler London. “The Avenues completely redefines the shopping experience for the consumer; it is as much about placemaking as it is retail design.”
The Avenues has already set a benchmark for high-end retail in the region. Phase I of the development opened in 2007 and houses more than 230 retail units. Phase II opened in 2008, offering more than 200 luxury shops, a large food court and outdoor dining venues. Phase III is expected to be complete in early 2012. For more information, visit www.gensler.com.